Whether motivated by environmental concerns or health reasons, plant-based foods have been propelled into international spotlight. All over the world, people have turned to vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets as plant-based foods are proving to be an attractive nutritional source while promoting new sustainable standards.
More and more consumers want herbal products, but they need to be accessible, i.e. fast and cheap. For non-vegan customers, it can be difficult to get started on a plant-based diet, with concerns about price, protein, and availability. The fast food giants have taken notice over the past year, developing several plant-based variations or brand-new vegan dishes to meet growing plant-based demand.
With increasing popularity, herbal or herbal options began to appear in more retailers and on more restaurant menus. Plant-based meat is on the menu 1,320% more than before the pandemic, according to a report from AI Platform Tastewise. The report explains that 9.2 percent of restaurants in the United States incorporate vegan meat in their menu. Today’s fast food innovation brings plant-based alternatives directly to consumers.
Across the plant sector, fast food giants such as McDonald’s and Burger King have paved the way for accessible plant foods. While these are not the healthiest options, the fast food establishment has options for plant-based consumers. By developing healthier, more sustainable alternatives, the fast food market provides a gateway for millions of non-vegans who feel intimidated by the plant-based diet.
Americans have decided that while they cannot completely eliminate animal products from their diet, they will try to reduce the consumption of meat and dairy products as much as possible. A report by Nielson shows that 39% of Americans say they try to buy meat and dairy alternatives whenever possible, with the goal of adopting an all-plant diet. While only about 6% of Americans are currently fully vegans, fast food companies have developed mouth-watering new herbal options that have changed the industry.
1. McDonald’s McPlant
McDonald’s has finally unveiled its long-awaited plant-based burger after years of anticipation. Earlier this year, the fast food giant announced a partnership with Beyond Meat, teasing the company’s new plant-based future. Today, the catering company strives to bring McPlant burgers to customers around the world. The company initially launched the McPlant burger in Europe, but recently the company entered the US market.
The fast food chain claimed it would double its sustainability targets earlier this year when it pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The company said its sustainability measures would be implemented under a plant angle. The McPlant is McDonald’s biggest leap into the plant protein world. The company launched the US McPlant on November 3 in Texas, California, Louisiana and Iowa before continuing its distribution. Keep an eye out for the New Year for a McPlant near you.
2. Taco Bell Roll out vegan meat
For decades, Taco Bell has offered one of the most vegan menus in the fast food world. Loaded with beans, potatoes, guacamole and more, the Taco Bell menu is a plant-eating paradise in a pinch. Over the past year, the company has decided to expand its selections and enter the world of plant proteins. Taco Bell is finally starting to offer plant-based meat to complement some of its familiar favorite dishes, alleviating its deep-rooted dependence on beans.
Taco Bell has announced that it will begin introducing its exclusive vegan meat to its Detroit restaurants following a successful test in California. Plant-based meat simply referred to as “boldly seasoned vegetable protein” will be available free of charge as a replacement for any animal protein.
The new plant-based protein also coincides with the company’s partnership with Beyond Meat. Earlier this year, the taco chain partnered with Beyond to develop vegan meat to meet growing customer demands. As a favorite of many vegan customers, Taco Bell strives to expand their menu offerings and create delicious, plant-based meats available nationwide.
3. Burger King’s first vegetarian restaurant
Over the past few years, Burger King has managed to stay one step ahead. The international burger chain launched the Impossible Burger after almost no competitor in the market had successfully launched an alternative protein burger. This year, Burger King took its plant-based campaign a step further, opening its first all-vegetarian restaurant in Spain.
The Vurger King pop-up has taken over a Burger King location in Spain to showcase the company’s progress in herbal alternatives. The herbal pop-up ran for a month, featuring specialty vegetarian options created in partnership with The Vegetarian Butcher. The avant-garde location featured vegetarian alternatives for the Whopper, nugget meals, and the Long Vegetal – a plant-based version of the restaurant’s signature Long Chicken Sandwich.
4. Vegan Crab Cakes by Long John Silvers
For years, plant-based categories such as chicken, pork, and beef alternatives have dominated the market, but in 2021, plant-based seafood has emerged. Long John Silver’s – the largest seafood fast food chain in the United States – has helped propel vegan seafood to the forefront of the industry, making seafood alternatives widely available more early this year.
The fast food chain has partnered with Good Catch to offer a plant-based menu option that includes vegan crab cakes and fish-free fillets in locations across Georgia and California. Plant-based seafood marks the first time that a major fast food company has introduced vegan alternatives to seafood on the menu. Although the company has yet to announce a national release, the trial aimed to expand the company’s consumer base and reach plant consumers nationwide.
5. Panda Express redesigns its most popular menu item
Over the past year, Beyond Meat has entered all food categories in the fast food market. Panda Express was no exception. The global Chinese-American fast food chain has unveiled its Beyond The Original Orange Chicken menu item, offering a plant-based alternative to the chain’s most popular menu item.
The herbal alternative was initially deployed in locations in New York City and California. As a result of the largely successful trial, the company then expanded its distribution to 10 additional states, including Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Washington, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, as well as d ‘other locations in New York and California. The famous orange chicken substitute is expected to reach customers across the United States and the company is preparing for a nationwide rollout.
6. Plant Power Fast Food is growing
The fast food giants may be feeling the pressure from plant-based consumers, but Plant Power Fast Food is trying to establish itself in a position to win. The vegan fast food company recently opened its 10th establishment in Vegas, marking the first time the company has left its home state of California. The innovative fast food concept offers an extensive and delicious selection of fast food classics without any animal ingredients, setting a sustainable standard for fast food cuisine.
Plant Power Fast Food recently partnered with Scale x 3 Management – a real estate group based in the Southwestern United States – to launch a rapid expansion nationwide. The plant-based company intends to bring vegan fast food consumers around the world, making a vegan option that is accessible and appealing to American consumers. The company’s expansion follows a $ 7.5 million Series A fundraiser dedicated to expanding its in-store presence across the United States.
“We’re grateful to see big chains adding plant-based options to their menus, but there’s no doubt consumers are looking for new, progressive brands with a genuine commitment to taste and sustainability,” co-founder and Plant Power Fast Food CEO Jeffrey Harris said. “The massive growth we’ve seen since our debut in 2016 is proof that the time is right for a major 100% plant-based, cruelty-free, sustainable and healthier option in the fast food segment. “